History events & news at 24 May


More and more history resources and events are being made available on the internet as part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, like the history courses from Queen’s University Belfast and those for children from Journey for Justice. 3 June is the closing date for applications for a doctoral studentship on slavery and the National Portrait Gallery. Among the events in June is the 25th Anniversary of the Windrush Foundation, a real tribute to Arthur Torrington, whose energy and creativity is respected by those of us who know him, alongside his work in the Equiano Society. 29 June sees a web session on the relationship between Universities and local communities to turn Universities back into civic institutions. Given the COVID crisis facing Universities and the cities they are situated in  it is important that this report is seriously looked. There is a petition to sign on ending the structural racism in Britain’s Archives Sector. Print and internet publishing continue to provide plenty of reading on topics such as Black history, and British radical, labour and socialist movement history including at regional level inc. the North East. The death of Malcolm Chase on 29 February was a very sad and great loss to academic and non academic  historians especially of early trade unionism, and nationalisation and Chartism.

Tuesday 26 May:  The American Presidency in the Twentieth Century. Online History Course from Queen’s University Belfast

3 June (2pm) Closing date for Doctoral Studentship on Slave-ownership and the National Portrait Gallery

Birkbeck and the National Portrait Gallery are seeking applicants for a fully funded collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2020 to examine the links between the National Portrait Gallery and historical transatlantic slavery. In particular, it seeks to understand the impact of wealth derived from slavery on its founders, donors, and the sitters represented in its portraits, thus acknowledging a history that has long remained hidden. This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Sarah Thomas and Dr Lucy Peltz.

Interview date: Tuesday 16 June, 2020


June. 25th Anniversary of Windrush Foundation


Directors: Verona Feurtado, Dr Angelina Osborne, Dione McDonald, and Arthur Torrington

See details below.

Monday 29 June. A City Upon a Hill: The Pilgrim Fathers and America’s Puritan Legacy.

Monday 29 June. 4-5.5.15pm. How communities and universities can work as civic partnerships

ARVAC Annual Lecture by Lord Robert Kerslake, Chair of the Civic University Commission. See details below.

Thursday 2 July. The Korean War. Online History Course from Queen’s University Belfast

Tuesday 1 September. Closing date for proposed articles on Engels and Geography

See details below.

Journey for Justice Children’s On-Line Resources



Petition To End Structural Racism in Britain’s Archives Sector

‘At the end of last year, archivists met in Liverpool, London and St Andrews to discuss the ongoing problem of structural racism in Britain’s archives sector.  These discussions addressed a number of problems in the sector and identified actions which organisations in the archives sector can commit to, both in their own work and also to influence the sector as a whole. More detail about the problems and the suggested actions can be found in the petition which was set up on change.org as a result of this:’


How communities and universities

can work as civic partnerships

‘For too long, seeking to build partnerships with their local communities has been the ‘poor cousin’ of the national and global ambitions of the Higher Education sector. At a time when the value of community living and working is being radically revalued, universities will need to demonstrate that they too are giving much higher priority to the places and local communities that host them. The recent report of the Civic University Commission calls for universities to reframe how they approach their relationship to place, and to the people who live there.

In the current COVID 19 crisis, connecting universities’ business with their local communities is especially pressing, since universities are experiencing uncertainty over their future role and function post-pandemic.

The ARVAC webinar on 29 June ‘aims to inform and stimulate understandings of community-university partnerships. It will begin with a 15 minute presentation from Lord Kerslake on the Civic University Commission, its work and its current position in Higher Education in the context of communities. There will then be break-out discussion groups, for 30 minutes. We will conclude with brief feedback from each of the groups and a plenary with Lord Kerslake and pointers for future action.’

The Commission section of the website states:

‘Universities are facing a host of challenges. Politicians and commentators from all sides are asking fundamental questions about their purpose, whether they provide ‘value for money’, and whether they serve students and taxpayers. The Commission is an attempt to shift the debate on higher education, but it has a more fundamental and practical purpose. Universities will exist for centuries (indeed many already have) – far beyond any piece of government legislation or headline in the papers. The Commission will look at how, concretely, universities can serve their place as well as play a global role.

To do this, the Commission wants to understand how civic universities operate today, how they operated in the past, and how they should operate in the future. We are looking at evidence from a wide range of sources including public opinion; expert witnesses and written evidence; and historical and current research.’

The Commission’s report published in February 2019 advocated civic agreements for effective strategic support for engagement. It highlighted four starting points for universities:

  • Understanding local populations, and asking them what they want.
  • Understanding themselves and deciding where to focus their “civic” endeavours.
  • Working with other local anchor institutions, businesses and community organisations to agree where the short, medium and long-term opportunities and problems lie.
  • Agreeing a clear set of priorities.

The attraction of such Agreements is that they make the universities’ commitments very tangible – but also introduce a level of rigour and accountability to the process.’

Other important elements of the Commission’s recommendations are Universities’ role in supporting the public sector, in adult education and in local cultural life. www.publicengagement.ac.uk/whats-new/blog/civic-university-commission-report-its-our-hands


The Windrush Foundation

Some Key Events in the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary

19 June 1999.  Windrush Reception at House of Lords hosted by Baroness Howells of St David’s

21 June 1999.   Windrush Reception at House of Commons hosted by Paul Boateng MP.

22 June 2000.  Windrush Celebration – Lambeth Town Hall hosted by the Mayor of Lambeth

21 June 2001.   Windrush Celebration on HMS President hosted by the Mayor of London (Ken Livinstone                                                                                                            Livingstone)

15 July 2003.   Windrush Reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by Cherie Blair

29 October 2005.  Commemorating the Contribution of West Indian Soldiers in WWII, Museum of London.

28 July 2008 – Booklet/DVD ‘Windrush Pioneers’ published.

June 2008 – April 2010. Contributed to the Imperial War Museum’s Exhibition: From War to Windrush

2011-13 –  Emancipation 1838 project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

2018- Windrush ’70; Windrush Pioneers & Champions publication; education pack ks2 & ks3 . Windrush exhibition at British Library. Prime Minister Teresa May forced to meet Commonwealth Leaders about the Windrush Scandal, and MPs debate the scandal after a major campaign led by Patrick Vernon The Government apologies and also adopts the term Windrush Generation, and cerates national Windrush Day with £500m annual funding to community organisation and Local Authorities in the UK. June Windrush ’70 reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by Teresa May, and event at City Hall hosted by the Mayor of London.

Friedrich Engels and Geography

Human Geography is producing a special issue to discuss Friedrich Engels’ relevance to issues of society, space and nature today.

Guest editor: Camilla Royle, King’s College London. Submission deadline: 1 September 2020. Special issue to appear in spring/summer 2021

Engels wide-ranging work addressed science, anthropology, philosophy, military history and more. ‘Engels worked closely with Marx, his economic thinking influenced Capital and he edited the second and third volumes after Marx’s death. However, some have questioned whether Engels’ interpretation of Marxism gave it a deterministic, economistic or dualist slant alien to Marx’s own thought. For example, Neil Smith argued that Engels’ attempt to find a dialectic in nature presupposes an untenable conception of nature as external to society. Engels’ critics have suggested that this was partly responsible for reformist and authoritarian versions of socialist practice in the 20th century.

Contributions of up to 8,000 words are sought that address Engels’ ideas, legacy or contemporary relevance. Questions that authors could address might include (but are not limited to):

  • Engels as a philosopher and as a Marxist
  • Geographies of workers’ and peasant struggles and revolutions
  • The housing question today
  • Engels on urbanization and urban life.
  • Engels on women, gender and the family
  • Engels on science, nature and the environment
  • Engels on disease pandemics and social epidemiology

Human Geography is an independent critical journal that welcomes articles written from a Marxist perspective. It is published three times per year. Submissions to the special issue will be anonymously peer reviewed. Go to https://hugeog.com/about-us

See https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/human-geography/journal203685#submission-guidelines for further submission guidelines.

Please contact Camilla Royle to express an interest or with any queries: camilla.e.royle@kcl.ac.uk

Reading in Print and on the Web


Anatomy of an outbreak. Mark Honigsbaum on the history of pandemics. BBC History. April

What Can History Tell Us About Pandemics. Discussion. History Today. April

How Have Ordinary People Responded in Terms of Crises? Discussion. History Today. May

Behind the Mask. Elisabeth Forster on the Chinese Government’s reaction to COVID-19 and its memory of the humiliations of the 19th Century. History Today. June.

Indians and the First World War

The Dast brothers on opposite sides. A Hidden history article by David Olusoga. BBC History. April

Black History

Rewriting the History of New England


The Foundations of Liberia. Angela Thompsell. History Today. April

The Wrongful Death of Tousissant Louverture. Marlene L. Daut. History Today. June

Pilgrim’s Progress. Martha Vandrei discusses the Mayflower  and the legacy of colonialism. History Today. May






Black Music In Europe and in the Classical Music World



British Radical, Labour ad Socialist Movement History

The Corn Law Crisis. Stephen Bates. BBC History. May



British Labour and Internationalism. The latest issue (No .57) of Socialist History contains articles on the movement and European nationalism and socialism in the 19thC (David Bowie), Clara Zetkin and the British Socialist Movement (John. S. Partington), the British left and the outbreak of war in 1914 (Ian Bullock), and British Labour and Europe (Willt Bishak). Published by Lawrence & Wishart.

The Forging of a Communist. Jesus Casquete on Eric Hobsbawm. History Today.  May. Critical letters in June issue.

Banners: www.academia.edu/30763186/Nick_Mansfield_Karsten_Uhl_Banners_An_annotated_Bibliography_in_Social_History_in_Museums_Vol._27_2002_pp._43-54

Robert Tressel and Mugsborough


The story of Robert Tressell and his book has been told and re-told by various authors, each account framed in accordance with their own perspective. His novel has also been the subject of academic scrutiny and literary criticism, but the approach adopted here is different. This new book focuses on the striking, not to say shocking parallels with modern day Britain, comparing Tressell’s descriptions of early 20th century Britain and with their 21st century counterparts.

Each subject is split into two parts, with the first section quoting examples from The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and in the second part evidence based modern-day equivalents are introduced.

buy the book on ebay for £5…

North East Labour and Cultural History

Teesside Unlocked

Newly digitised oral history recordings featuring memories of life on Teesside over a century ago are being aired for the first time in decades as part of a collaboration between Heritage Unlocked and Teesside Archives for Stockton & Middlesbrough Local History Month.

The ‘Rediscovered Voices of Teesside: Memories from the Archives’ link-up showcases a selection of oral history recordings featuring unique, first-hand accounts of life in the area dating back to the late nineteenth century.


See for example www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0dd_HmwF5Q&t=232s

Tyneside May Day Committee

With the cancellation of the annual Tyneside May Day Committee events Newcastle TUC’s Cultural Sub-committee has worked with some artists and writers to produce the attached pdf booklet, which is a virtual May Day procession of artworks, poetry and prose, on the theme of Culture and the Commons in the Time of Coronavirus

The culture project of Newcastle TUC set up about a year aims to help promote suitable cultural facilities for all working people in Newcastle.

Kiddar’s Luck and Edwardian Heaton

Peter Sagar on Jack Common’s Kiddar’s Luck and its references to Edwardian Heaton.


George Bell, Newcastle Sailor In the US Civil War Navy

In The Newcastle Sailor Who Ended Up An American War Hero Thomas Bagnall tells the story of Sunderland born George H. Bell who served in the US Navy during the American Civil War and, injured in the line of duty, was awarded the United States of America’s highest military honour.

Malcolm Chase

It was very sad news that Malcolm Chase died on 29 February. He was an expert on British Labour history and political radicalism, a leading authority on the Chartist Movement. Among his wide range of support for ‘popularising’ history was his organisation of the annual Chartism Day.

His obituary was in the Guardian


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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